Human Capital Musings!

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Archive for the tag “recruitment”

Hiring, for happiness


I have had some wonderful learning as a recruiter/HR professional and always ponder about ‘hiring for happiness’.

We have read and written volumes about hiring the right person with the best skills and competencies, but hiring for happiness is a class in itself, and doing so will only foster a great and happy work place. Needless to say, and I dont think anyone will differ – a happy organisation ought to be a productive and winning organisation.

Here are a few tangibles,  that hiring for happiness would bring in to the organisation, making life happier for the organisation, its team and its topline and bottom line.

Happiness is being self disciplined.

This is a most important differential that will add immense value to the workforce and the teams. Whilst there would be so many hazy and nebulous definitions of what happiness means to each one of us, the fact remains that happiness is rather simple – people who are more self aware, know what they are, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and understand the value they can bring to the table. Happy persons are grounded in reality, and aspire to achieve incrementally, by being sincere, illustrious, creative, and solution centric.

Happiness is being satisfied and contended.

Happiness comes from being driven by the self and one’s own inherent values. So when a happy person comes in in any role, is a satisfied person, and takes his work head on with remarkable agility, and with a happy goal in mind. The absence of dissonance is by far the biggest positive factor that would contribute to workplace productivity.

Happiness is being a better team player and co-worker
.

A happy employee, but for rare exceptions to a decimal percentile, is a good team player, and when many happy men and women are an integral part of the team, the performance is optimal, moving towards the team goals and corporate goals. The team comprising happy employees is a galvanised and energetic teams, that will be driven by happy leaders, who think that winning and happiness are just synonyms.

Happiness is being infectiously optimistic.

When someone at the workplace is infectitiously optimistic, he or she takes on any challenge headon, comes in with oodles of creativity, thus proffering solutions to workplace problems, looking at client and customer happiness as a goal, and crafting all products/services with mutual goals in mind. Happiness is the only state of mind that thinks win win which is the most desirable business strategy.

Happiness is being motivated.

Being in a happy state of mind, is being self motivated to accomplish ones’ personal and professional goals. In fact happiness creates a natural flow in the person that would not be possible with any other factor of motivation. Power, position, and money will rank far behind happiness as a facilitator to motivate. There are enough and more best employer surveys to drive home the point that the best paymasters are not the best and happy employers. And many leaders and HR professionals across the spectrum of diverse businesses will testify to the role a happy work force can play, and what money as a driving force cannot achieve.

As professionals, if each of us aspire to build happy teams, keep the customers and vendors happy, and keep the board happy, it’s the best possible winnning scenario. And the topline and bottomline can only be something everyone can be happy about.

Indeed, the best way to keep the employees at all levels of the organisaition is to keep them happy; might sound simple, but it would mean humungous efforts by the stakeholders, with HR in the drivers seat.  Employeee engagement can get to its best with the happiness of the employees and the workforce as its pivot.

What are your views on hiring for happiness, or happy hiring? 🙂

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Is your employer branding for real??


Honestly, am pretty tired of so many surveys and writings on why an employee will stay engaged in a company. Volumes of analyses are penned on why the employees need to be engaged with the best practices, contemporary practices, and ‘designer’ employee retention tools which are a great tool in the armor of the employer brand.

But, let me bluntly put across a few things which makes the employee hang on, and why he will not look elsewhere to do the same job.

  1. treatment with dignity – this is the bedrock. you do the best of practices and yet have a jerk as a manager in one of the functions, who loves and lives by stamping on the ego and dignity of his colleague, then with all the cosmetic engagement tools, you are not going to retain a soul, a good employee. so, spot the jerks today, and do something about their behavioral change if you can – a great service to your employer brand.
  2. a role appropriate to the skills and competencies – how many times does your HR/line/recruitment function jump and say “here’s a great talent”.. and you go ahead and hire the person just for the heck of showing the world that your ’employer brand’ is capable of attracting the best of talent out there. without any sense of what role and responsibility you will give the person – in your present and future ‘scheme’ of things? if there is nothing like that, then your ’employer brand’ is not just ruining another career, and even worse self-inflicting a blow on the face of your brand. so, think of a proper plan before you want to go out and get the best of talent – is your brand ready for such great talent?
  3. great talent is never retained by frivolous engagement tools. period. at best, the buzz you build around the ’employer brand’ with such fun tools may last for a month or so. even that, in this information age, is a stretch. great talent looks for real ‘meat’ in the job content, in the career path, in the span of control and challenges – besides off-course the best of money. notice that money will mostly come in the bottom of the aspiration ladder for someone who is serous about ‘growing’ a career. so, pay attention to the ‘meat’ your employer brand can proffer and spice it up with the money. as you will know, just the spice sans the ‘content’ food will be inedible and propel attrition, no matter what you do.
  4. is your employer brand a school of learning, and the best in that – most organisations which win the serious employer brand surveys are there mainly because they are solid learning grounds. every person who stays with you wants to grow, intellectually as well. and most times, people exit the organisation getting tired of doing the same thing, in the same way everyday. there is nothing called learning in your brand – if that is the case, then all the buzz you create around the employer brand will fizzle out in no time.
  5. work life balance – in this wired world, as we all get more connected, and telecommuting is the order of the day, it is no surprise that what is hit most is work-life balance. technology is meant to ease our lives, and help us get more productive; yet in reality the opposite has happened. our handheld work devices have got to our bedroom and kitchen – every ring or buzz hits the nerve even at home. it is time great employer brands offer real work life balance – to take it further, i would opine that today’s employer brands must have a documented work-life balance policy, which clearly facilitates each employee in being a balanced person (i have taken it too far? 🙂
These things have to be ingredients of your employer brand. If they are not, a whole lot of other ‘stuff’ will not serve the purpose of enhancing your brand value, other than just getting your some ‘news’ as a best ranked employer!

All the best for your ’employer branding’ life cycle.

Hiring people… are we asking the right questions?


On January 15th, 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger made an emergency landing of his 50-ton passenger aircraft, US Airlines Flight 1549 – softly gliding it onto the Hudson River in New York City, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

What he did was not only a feat, but also a testimony to his on-the-job skills, dedication and passion. Plain words would not suffice to express the feat of Capt Sullenberger.

What are the odds that you and me, as hiring managers, will find our Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger?  .

For most of us in the corporate/human resources space, the formidable challenge is to get the star hired out of the lot of candidates out there, be it a CXO or a frontline sales foot soldier. This singular ability to identify and hire individuals, who can excel at work, and beat the market – the raison d’etre of any winning organization!

The trick is probably looking at the candidate’s core competence and also what he is passionate about, at work or otherwise. Picture this: If you were the guy in charge of hiring pilots for US Airlines, how would you have identified Capt Chesley Sullenberger from the whole lot of aspiring and young pilots?

Or rather how would you not at any cost miss out on hiring the handful of Capt Sullenbergers from a thousand aspirants.

While there are surely many proven models on ‘how to hire the right person for the right job’, the most simple and cost effective way is to factor a few simple questions as a part of the hiring discussions.

In today’s rapid fire hiring processes, it is competency assessment on the basis of standard question templates that dominate rather than a few rudimentary but revealing questions.

One such rudimentary question is: What do you do in your spare time? What are you passionate about?

When Michael Balboni, New York State’s deputy secretary for public safety, thanked Capt Sullenberger for a job done brilliantly, he responded “That’s what we’re trained to do.”

But that was humility at its best, a singular hallmark of passionate leaders.

In an interview like situation (hiring), only a probing question on the Captain’s hobbies, life likes and passion would have revealed this:

When most friends were getting their driver’s licenses, he got his pilot’s license. For fun, he flew glider planes, which is what he did when he landed in the Hudson River with no engines. Extracurricular activity? An accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association and work with federal aviation officials to improve training and methods for evacuating aircraft in emergencies. This explains why he walked through the cabin twice, making sure no one was left behind before he escaped the sinking plane himself on that day over the Hudson river!

This might seem eccentric and obsessive to quote from what I read somewhere: “Obsessions are one of the greatest telltale signs of success. Understand a person’s obsessions and you will understand her natural motivation. That one thing for which she would walk to the end of the earth.”

Well, we are not hiring for those who would be willing to do that long walk, but only those whose probability of success on the job is above average, at least and excellent, at best.

So, are we ever looking for that little obsession for job-related skills – a receptionist excels in greeting people with a smile, and has to like doing that and being hospitable, a sales guy needs to be passionate about people and how the product and services benefit the customer, a recruiter is passionate about helping people shape their careers, a doctor is passionate about saving lives… this list is just endless depending on who has to be hired.

Puttting it in a nutshell,  only the right and simple questions throw up our ‘Captain Sullenberger’s!!

Are we ever asking the right questions while hiring?!

 

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